Terrariums are a great way to bring plants indoors. For those who live in a small space—or those who don’t want the hassle of big plants—this is the way to go. Regular plants brought inside tend to dry out fast, especially in the winter when you run the heat. By placing them in a partially or fully closed container, you’ll keep plants moist and thriving.

Materials Needed

  • A clear glass bowl, vase, jar, or another interesting glass container
  • Pebbles or rocks for a drainage layer
  • Activated charcoal to keep plants healthy and reduce fungi, bacteria, and odors
  • Small plants – succulents and cacti work well, as do ferns and tropical plants. Be sure to choose slow growing plants or your terrarium will get overcrowded.
  • Potting soil – you can use regular potting soil for ferns and tropical plants, but use a cactus soil for succulents
  • Moss (optional) to retain the water
  • Small shovel (spoon works well)
  • Scissors
  • Gloves

Instructions

  1. Fill the bottom of the container with rocks or pebbles. No matter the size of your container, you’ll need at least a half inch to two inches of rocks.You need a place for the excess water to go.
  2. Using gloves, sprinkle the charcoal on top of the rocks. You don’t need much!
  3. Add enough soil so the roots of your plants have enough room to fit and then grow. Use the pot the plant comes in to gauge how much soil you will need.
  4. Take your plant out of the pot and remove as much soil as you can until you get to the roots. You can cut back the roots if they are really long. Don’t worry, they’ll grow back.
  5. Using a spoon or your fingers (another good reason for the gloves) dig a well in which to place the plant. After planting, add more soil around the top and pack the soil down around the base of the plant.
  6. Place remaining plants. Do not overload the container. The plants will grow, no matter how slowly, so give them plenty of room.
  7. You can also add a small clay or ceramic piece or two, like a little pagoda, bench, or fairy!

Maintenance

  1. Water (the plants only) once a week. The soil should remain barely moist but never let it get bone dry. If your container is closed, it should rarely need watering.
  2. Cut off any dead foliage and cut back the plant to keep the terrarium looking nice, and to avoid rotting material.
  3. Avoid direct sunlight or hot areas. Indirect light works the best.
  4. You can mist your plant every other day to keep the humidity high, but this is not necessary.